The Key to Success

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You'll find the video above interesting for two reasons.

First, it's a video presentation by an old friend, and former McKinsey colleague Angela Duckworth. By background she had degrees from Harvard and Oxford before landing at McKinsey. We had many 3am bonding sessions sitting in the hallway of the McKinsey NYC office waiting for presentations to finish printing.

One of those conversations was about how she thought consulting wasn't a good fit for her. In general when you're still at work at 3am, and expected to be back at work at 8am, consulting isn't a good fit for anyone. But a few months later, she left McKinsey to become a high school teacher.

You'll see from the video where her career path took her next. This leads me to my second point.

Today, Angie is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She has become a mini-celebrity in the education research field -- a field I started following more closely once I had kids. She has focused her academic research on answering the following profoundly important question:

What is the underlying root cause of success?

I won't spoil the surprise. I intuitively reached a similar conclusion and have used that as the basis for raising my own children. It has also been the primary cause of my own career success. Watch the video to learn more. It's well worth your time, and you'll probably be seeing and hearing more from Angie over the next few years.

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2 comments… add one
  • Michael Moshiri May 31, 2013, 2:12 pm

    Nice! Thanks for posting this Victor.

    I like the word “grit”… it’s a nice short-hand for “passion and persistence”. In my experience, the one thing that has never failed to lead to improvements (whether it’s in behaviors, or ability and motivation to learn) has been positive encouragement. Positive feedback has always proven to be more effective than “constructive” feedback, which most people perceive as negative. And may be it is a part of instilling grit in our children, and ourselves.

  • Bart Baranowski Jul 26, 2013, 5:46 pm

    Interesting video, Victor. Thanks for posting it.
    How do we build grit in kids? As parents, we should show them our persistence and ability to establish and achieve goals.

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